Faced with the isolation of full lockdown back in the Spring, people struggled in many different ways. For those already struggling with an addiction before Covid-19 hit, their addictions got much worse, and help was hard to find as support groups closed. Read Eilidh’s (not her real name) story of how an internet search changed her life.
It was a Friday in May – I was in Covid lockdown. I was working from home and yippee it was 4 o’clock; I had finished all the work I had to do. Time to jump in the car and drive to the local shops to purchase my essential supplies. The supplies could be a bit more generous as it was a Friday, and I didn’t need to work over the weekend.
I carefully calculated the alcohol units; how many I would need to see me through until I was in a position to be able to drive safely again. Over the years I had worked out how to do this. It involved knowing my body’s ability to break down the units of alcohol from when I started drinking until I stopped. I also had my blood test kit to double check my blood alcohol volume prior to getting behind the wheel. I honestly believed this type of behaviour was “OK” as I had been doing it for around 20 years.
The wake-up call I needed.
That weekend as I was waiting to be “safe” to drive again to go and get my “essentials,” while lying on the floor rattling, dry retching and wanting to die, I blamed God. Even if he existed why had he allowed this to happen? I had life but yet I didn’t want life for me.
I heard a voice speak gently, “These are not My plans for you – these are your plans for you”. I shouted, “What do you mean, plans?! You have no plans; I try my best and still it isn’t enough!” I was staring at the chaos surrounding me; empty bottles, rubbish, clothes lying around. I was powerless over my own life. I hated me.
Something changed. I suddenly had a purpose – to get sober for the first time EVER. This was God’s will for me. I knew I needed a medicated detox but then what? I remembered my 12 Step Recovery Bible. I worked out that surely some Christian organisations must offer some sort of support program somewhere – I live in Scotland. So, I hunted on Google. After days of searching I stumbled across some community churches based in Bristol, that stated that most of the congregation had life recovery experience, and that they used the Life Recovery Study bible as a teaching tool. I sent an email to the administration contact on the website. I explained how I planned to get sober in the next few weeks and was looking for some support system after I had my detox. Could they offer suggestions of some counselling or signposting – advice or anything? I was desperate!
A lifeline online.
About 3 weeks later, I received a very friendly email from ‘in Hope.’ They had received my email and whilst they couldn’t offer me a 12-step program per se, they were running virtual life support programs. And there it was – God provided: hope, encouragement, and connection with a new family in Bristol!! But it didn’t matter where it was because of ZOOM.
Starting well on the Life Course.
I detoxed on the 6th June 2020 and soon after started with the zoom groups twice a week. One of the groups was the Life Course; a basic but much needed programme about how to start caring for ourselves. A wonderful guy, Ant, led the group. He was gentle and great with practical suggestions and examples. All of us attending the group had different stories but all with a similar dilemma, “How do I live well in recovery?” We got worksheets emailed to us after each session, to use for reflection and practice. During our virtual sessions we could share if we wanted but there was no pressure. It gave me a foundation to start working up from, like how to deal with practical and emotional stuff.
Mutual support in Life Recovery Group.
I participated in a second zoom group, called Life Recovery Group. This was more focused on, ‘What are we all about?’ and ‘Where does the bible / faith fit in to our lives.’ The group leader, Stu, is brilliant. He is very encouraging, gives lots of food for thought, and is great at telling stories from the Bible. Every week Stu fires out a topic or a theme for discussion. I guess for me it is a bit of learning history, sharing experiences, strengths, and hope. Our group has become really close and we keep in touch during the week by online chats, email, talking on the phone, whatever method suits. God has led me to a place of hope, friendship, encouragement and really importantly for me – safety. I look forward to our get togethers and know in the future we will all meet up in person, with me travelling down to Bristol. Who knows when? God does.
If you would like to find out more about the work of Life Recovery, visit: https://inhope.uk/life-recovery/.